January 28, 2023

Business Plan: How to Make a Business Plan (with benefits and tips)

By DENNIS BLACK on Jan 8, 2023

In this context, we discuss how to write a business plan, analyze the benefits of a business plan, highlight tips for presenting a business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan?

Whether you are in the early stages of a project or halfway through, consider taking the time to write a business plan to help you justify project expenses, identify project benefits and costs, providing clear justification for proceeding. 

Consider using the following steps to develop a compelling business plan:

1. Identify the Business Problem

In most plans, projects are initiated to solve a business problem.

Discover the problem, describe it, find out where it might be coming from, and then address how the project might solve it.

You can also highlight the costs or risks associated with the problem to justify the need for the project.

 

2. Identify Workarounds

Once you've identified the business problem you hope to solve with the proposed project, consider alternative solutions.

 You can brainstorm with your colleagues to find all possible approaches to solving the problem.

 For each solution, try to quantify the benefits and predict the costs involved if you adopt that solution.

 Find out the feasibility of each solution and then document all those solutions in the business plan.

 

3. Recommend the Ideal Solution

Having identified the alternative solutions, rank them, focusing on the best solution to the problem, which is probably the project you are proposing.

Make sure you have a compelling argument as to why the solution you choose is the best among other options.

The best solution may be the most cost-effective, the most affordable, or the fastest to implement.

Give a summary recommending the ideal solution.

4. Create an Executive Summary for the Project

Once you've decided on the ideal solution, consider creating an executive summary. This is the first section of the business plan and contains the vital details of the project.

Consider taking the time to write and edit this part, as it is the first or only section reviewers can review.

Be sure to make it compel enough to entice the reader to examine the entire business plan.

Consider highlighting what the project means to your business and how it fits into the company's goals and overall plan.

5. Describe the Resources Needed

In this step, describe the financial needs of the project. Consider creating this section with your finance team to break down all required resources, providing anticipated costs.

Even if the project is a new idea, consider doing extensive research into project costs.

Break the overall cost into individual component costs for resources like data storage and IT support.

You may also consider performing a sensitivity analysis to indicate the certainty of projected costs.

This can help you provide an estimated return on investment expected from carrying out the project.

6. Detail the Project Scope

The details included in this section may vary depending on the project you are undertaking.

You can include all information relevant to the project, which may include:

  • Project Objectives:  These are the project deliverables or what you expect to deliver upon project completion.
  • Project Interdependencies:  Find out if there is anything that could affect the progress of the project. For example, you might ask 'does this project depend on another project or work that is still in progress?'
  • Project Outline:  A project outline is a plan of the steps your team will take to achieve project goals.
  • Project Stakeholders: Project stakeholders can include relevant team members who may be directly involved in the project, such as project sponsors, project managers, and the team working on the project.

7. Discuss Project Risks

Once you have determined the scope of the project and the resources required, you can discuss the potential risks of the project.

Defining potential risks and how they might impact the project can help the project manager avoid these risks.

Consider highlighting design assumptions to help the team avoid making meaningful decisions based on assumptions.

You can also check out the design alternatives available on the market and discuss how they might affect the success of your project.

8. Provide a Schedule

Give a clear timeline of when you expect to complete the project. You might consider giving a deadline for each stage of the project and explaining what can happen at each stage.

Providing a timeline can help management know whether the project is worth investing in or not.

It can also help in making other big business decisions.

A timeline also guides the team to stay focused on the goal and prioritize tasks. 

9. Transform the Business Plan into an Accessible Project

This is the last part of the project. Explain the reporting structure, starting with the project leader all the way down to lower-level employees.

Describe the metrics you expect to use to measure project progress or success.

You can also explain the immediate next course of action if project stakeholders approve the business plan.

What Are the Benefits of a Business Plan?

A business plan can help you evaluate your project thoroughly.

Check out some of the benefits of writing a business plan:

  • You can find alternative approaches. As you progress through the plan, you may find a better alternative than your initial proposal. Having a business plan allows you to make changes before investing in a specific system, only to find that another is better along the way.
  • You can better prioritize tasks. When multiple projects compete for resources, analyzing business plans for each project can help you know which task to prioritize.
  • Your project will look more attractive. A compelling business plan can help you justify your project to multiple project stakeholders, getting approval across all departments. 
  • You have a starting point. A business plan provides an initial impetus for developing additional project documents, such as a project management plan. You can easily convert business plan information into actionable steps and milestones.
  • You can measure success more easily. A business plan can serve as one of the metrics to determine the success of a project. You can compare the project results with what the business plan was proposing.

Tips for presenting a business plan

Here are some tips to help you present your business plan effectively:

  • Decide on a medium. Find a suitable delivery medium, such as a video, PowerPoint presentation, or any other delivery mode that your audience prefers.
  • Come with a bid. Prepare an elevator pitch that you can use to explain the business plan convincingly.
  • Grab the audience. Create a hook that your audience can easily relate to, like stories, instead of just having numbers and facts.
  • Have a clear objective. Start your business plan by explaining what problem the proposed project might solve.
  • Side dish. Reach out to your audience after the presentation to find out what stakeholders think of the business plan or project.